Who Is that Guy?

The last day of spring practice before the Blue-White game was pretty low key. Players were not in pads, contact was minimal and the scrimmage was brief. It was business as usual with one noticeable exception; a wide receiver was putting on a clinic, but no one on the sidelines knew who he was.

According to his official BYU biography, Isaac Taylor was a decorated running back at his high school. He also lettered in track before playing football at Modesto Junior college. His parents both ran track at BYU and went on to have seven children. That is about all BYU has to say about Taylor, so perhaps it would be best to let him fill in the details.

"Well, I'm from Modesto, California but I went to high school in Placerville, California," said Taylor with a smile. "I served a mission to Indiana, and that was great. I got home in September of 2003. I went to a year of junior college at Modesto Junior College, and then I came out here. I'm 5-10, and I weigh 195. In junior college I ran a 4.4 forty. I came out here as a walk-on, and I'm loving every minute of it. I'm going into entrepreneurship and business here at BYU. It is one of the best programs in the nation right here."

Taylor had a 3.7 GPA in high school and had opportunities at many colleges, but he shied away from recruiters because he wanted to go to BYU. When the opportunity to play in Provo did not present itself out of high school, Taylor pursued the JC route.

"It's kind of funny about a year and a half ago I just felt it was something I should do," said Taylor. "I had really good grades [3.7 GPA] to go to a lot of different schools, and I was keeping myself back from the recruiting seen and just felt like BYU was the place to go."

While at junior college, Taylor's coaches used his athleticism to fill in as needed at two offensive positions. Taylor walked on to play offense for the Cougars, but his plans soon changed and then changes again.

"At Modesto Junior College, they had me as a running back and receiver, so I was splitting time at both those positions," said Taylor. "I came here as a tailback but then the coaches moved me to safety and I was there for a couple of weeks. Then, one week into spring ball, all of our inside receivers got hurt so they moved me to inside receiver because I had offensive background. Then another got hurt there so the coaches put me in with the ones, so I'll be playing in the spring game and I'm pretty excited.

At Thursday's practice, spectators were impressed by a wide receiver who made several nice grabs in traffic. When the observers checked their rosters to see who the new kid was, they could not fin a listing for #84. When Taylor made the switch from defense to offense, coaches to the #37 jersey that he wore as a safety and was listed under on the roster and gave him #84.

"I'm really new—just two weeks—so it's been an offensive crash course," Taylor said. "I've been doing as much film study as I can and trying to get a hold of the offense mentally, and now it's starting to click for me and come together. I just gotta get over the little mistakes. It will be a long-term progression, but I'm hoping I can do pretty well on Saturday. I'm excited and, I hate to have it happen this way through injuries but I'm very excited and I'll have some family coming down to watch the game."

Coach Mendenhall's appreciation of walk-on players is well known, and for Taylor, the feeling is mutual. His chance to prove himself on the practice field and in tomorrow's Blue-White game has only reaffirmed his respect for Coach Mendenhall.

"I love it here, and Coach Mendenhall has been great," said Taylor. "I mean, I love him to death and he's a really good man and I didn't expect this to happen. I was expecting this year to be a year where I just work myself into it with the idea that in the next couple of year I would be able to have the opportunity to play and do something. Then all of a sudden I'm getting the opportunity to be apart of this team when I wasn't even expecting it. It's been great and I'm loving it."


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